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Nathaniel Hawthorne


from The House of the Seven Gables

[from The House of the Seven Gables, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1950 (no copyright notice), in Great Illustrated Classics series. "With illustrations reproducing drawings for early editions and photographs of comtemporary scenes together with an introductory biographical sketch of the author and anecdotal captions by Basil Davenport." (Online editor's note: this is the conventional Hawthorne history, but some is more legend than fact.)]

  1. Nathaniel Hawthorne. . . . Frontispiece [38KB]

    [We reproduce here the list of illustrations, with the facing page number of the Dodd, Mead edition. We also supply Davenport's captions to the pictures, as included at the bottom of each illustration. Sizes of the JPEG files are given so you can estimate download times.]

  2. The House of the Seven Gables. . . . page 14 [41KB]

    One of Hawthorne's few intimates during his Salem boyhood was his father's cousin, Susannah Ingersoll, eighteen years older than he. It is said that she loved a naval officer who deserted her; she never married, and from the age of twenty-six she lived alone in a house which once had seven gables and a secret staircase. Hawthorne as a boy often came there to call on her and it is generally believed that he had this house in mind in writing The House of the Seven Gables.

  3. The Shop. . . . page 49 [47KB]

    Hawthorne was deeply interested in his own family traditions and to some extent they inspired The House of the Seven Gables. In his American Notebooks he records that Justice Hathorne, the judge in the witchcraft trials, also injured a neighbor named English, who never forgave him; yet English's daughter married Hathorne's son. In the same way, the descendants of the Pyncheons and the Maules were at last united in marriage.

  4. The Hawthorne House in Salem. . . . page 80 [42KB]

    Here Hawthorne spent his boyhood in genteel poverty, with a widowed mother and two sisters, all such recluses that often the family did not see each other for days at a time, even at meals. Hawthorne once said to a friend, "We do not even live at our house."

  5. The dining room in the House of the Seven Gables. . . . page 113 [41KB]

    The room which, in the book, is called "the parlor of more moderate size," also, "Miss Hepzibah's sitting room and dining room." The open door at the left of the mantel shows a secret staircase in the chimney, leading to Clifford's room.

  6. Manning's Folly. . . . page 144 [50KB]

    When Hawthorne was fourteen, his mother took him to live in a house belonging to his uncle, Robert Manning, at Raymond, Maine. In that frontier community the house was considered so pretentious as to be nicknamed "Manning's Folly." Hawthorne said to his publisher, James Field, "I lived in Maine like a bird of the air, so perfect was the freedom I enjoyed. But it was there I first got my cursed habits of solitude."

  7. Bowdoin College. . . . page 153 [48KB]

    At seventeen, Hawthorne entered Bowdoin College at Brunswick, Maine. In his American Notebooks he expressed an interest in several great Maine families who had come down in the world, as the Hawthornes had done and the Pyncheons were to do. In particular, he was interested in the Revolutionary General Knox, who, hoping to found a land-owning family in the English fashion, possessed a great tract of land around Waldoboro, but which his grandchildren later lost. There is a reminiscence of this in the Pyncheon claim to a vast tract of land in Waldo County.

  8. The Peabody House, Salem. . . . page 168 [46KB]

    Here Hawthorne courted Sophia Peabody, who became his wife. He has described the house in Doctor Grimshawe's Secret.

  9. Hawthorne in 1846. . . . page 177 [24KB]

    From a crayon drawing by Eastman Johnson, which hangs in the Longfellow house in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

  10. Washington Street, Salem. . . . page 208 [46KB]

    This picture, painted in 1765, shows the whipping post in the middle of the street, and the brick schoolhouse (left) whose upper floor served as the courtroom during the witchcraft trials. Hawthorne's great-grandfather presided over the trials. One woman, forced to plead her cause standing with arms outstretched, died maintaining her innocence and declared on the scaffold that God would avenge her. The Hawthorne family seriously believed that their later misfortune came from "the witch's curse."

  11. Clifford's room in the House of the Seven Gables. . . . page 249 [45KB]

    This shows the top of the secret staircase from Clifford's room to Miss Hepzibah's sitting room. There was such a staircase in the actual house, and Hawthorne knew of it from his cousin, Susannh Ingersoll. In the book it is not actually mentioned, but the mysterious appearance of Clifford in the room where the judge is sitting dead seems to show that Hawthorne had it in mind.

  12. The Custom House, Salem. . . . page 264 [47KB]

    Hawthorne, a Democrat, was employed as Surveyor of the Custom House until the election of a Whig president deprived most of the Democrats of their jobs. While Hawthorne's fate was still in the balance, a certain officious clergyman named Charles Upham, while pretending to plead for Hawthorne, actually slandered him behind his back, and Hawthorne lost his means of livelihood. Discovering what Upham had done, Hawthorne wrote, "I shall do my best to kill and scalp him in the public prints; and I think I shall succeed." He drew Upham as the hypocritical Judge Pyncheon, a portrait recognizable in Salem.

  13. Sophia Peabody Hawthorne in 1855. . . . page 273 [32KB]

    A photograph of Hawthorne's wife. When he lost his job at the Custom House, he said of her, "She will bear it like a woman--that is, better than a man"; and she produced enough money which she had secretly saved for Hawthorne to live on while he wrote The Scarlet Letter, which assured his fame.

  14. The parlor in the House of the Seven Gables. . . . page 304 [46KB]

    Some time after Susannah Ingersoll's death, her house was bought for a settlement house. At that time it had three gables, but in making the plans for remodeling, traces of four other gables were found, and the house was rebuilt as nearly as possible in its earlier form, as Hawthorne had heard of it from his cousin, and as he described it. This is the room called "the grand reception room" in the story.

  15. A corner of the parlor in the House of the Seven Gables. . . . page 313 [40KB]

    This shows Hawthorne's chair in which he used to sit when he called to see Susannah Ingersoll, and her portrait hangs at the right of the clock.

  16. The Wayside, Concord. . . . page 328 [34KB]

    Hawthorne spent his last years in this house, which he purchased from Bronson Alcott, the father of Louisa May Alcott.

Illustrations facing pages 14, 49, 113, 304, 313 reproduced by permission. Photographs by Charles S. Olcott.

Illustrations facing pages 80, 144, 168, 249, 273 reproduced by permission of Harcourt, Brace & Company.

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